USMNT's noble display vs. Canada earns 2023 Concacaf Nations League title

Chris Richards and Folarin Balogun were the goalscorers in the Stars and Stripes' big win on Sunday


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 18: Folarin Balogun #20 of the United States celebrates scoring with Gio Reyna #7 during the first half of the 2023 CONCACAF Nations League Final against Canada at Allegiant Stadium on June 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Todd/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

If you thought the U.S. men's national team were dominant against Mexico on Thursday, well they impressed even more against Canada on Sunday.

The USMNT triumphed over their neighbors up north with a 2-0 win in the 2023 Concacaf Nations League Final at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Whereas the win against Mexico was dominant in the sense that the USMNT limited El Tri's opportunities and brightened the scoreboard without breaking too much of a sweat, the victory vs. Canada combined clutch finishing, defending the box more often and overcoming injuries to key personnel all over the pitch.

The scoring started in the 12th minute when Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna delivered a corner that connected with Crystal Palace's Chris Richards for the headed goal. It marked Richards' first goal in the Stars and Stripes' kit.

Reyna wasn't done assisting there nor was a first-time scorer netting a goal for the U.S. In the 34th minute, he laid off a brilliant through ball as Folarin Balogun made a run in behind Canadian center back Scott Kennedy's shoulder. Balogun reached the ball first, then smashed it home brilliantly past goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

That marked Balogun's first goal with the USMNT following his national allegiance switch from England. He made his debut against Mexico in the semifinal on Thursday but was not among the goalscorers in the 3-0 rout despite a solid all-around showing in the No. 9 role.

Canada kept trying to break the deadlock, but there was just no way past the brilliant defending from the USMNT's defensive line and Matt Turner in goal.

Sergino Dest and Weston McKennie both missed out after being red carded in the semifinal vs. Mexico and Miles Robinson came away with an injury, so he couldn't start alongside Richards. Reyna also exited at halftime with a calf injury despite a strong outing in the No. 10 role.

Joe Scally, Brenden Aaronson, Luca de la Torre and Walker Zimmerman all stepped up throughout the game for those players and exemplified a true next-man-up identity. Antonee Robinson also deserves plaudits for holding down the left flank and making several pivotal clearances, while Yunus Musah shined yet again without McKennie or Tyler Adams forming the double pivot alongside him.

Canadian stars Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David -- the goalscorers in their 2-0 semifinal win vs. Panama on Thursday -- looked threatening all game, but neither supplied the final touch necessary to get on the scoreboard.

Christian Pulisic, who scored a brace against Mexico on Thursday, was named the best player of the tournament, while Turner was named the best goalkeeper for keeping yet another clean sheet.

It marks consecutive Nations League titles for the USMNT after beating Mexico in the 2019-20 final, the first edition of the tournament. Mexico finished in third in the 2023 tournament after beating Panama 1-0 in the third-place game earlier on Sunday.

Next up for manager B.J. Callaghan and the USMNT is the Concacaf Golf Cup, which begins against Jamaica on June 24. The U.S. also are the defending champions in that tournament, so they'll hope to go 2-for-2 this summer.

Telemundo Deportes’ commentator Natalia Astrain reveals three players who could make an impact for the USWNT and teams who have the potential to make the final.
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